Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (8/09)
Adam Gontarek’s “Bolt Hole” starts with a quite explicit sentence, “It was not the best kind of night for a sexual rendezvous.” We are thrown right into the middle of a slightly scary and slightly seedy situation, and everything only escalates from there.
Grant, a young man with a serious sexual addiction, arranged to meet his girlfriend, Fay, in a slightly unusual location. Upon arriving there he thought he saw her for a moment, but then she disappeared. Soon the police got involved. Fay is nowhere to be found, and Grant definitely looks like a suspect. DCI Cosey keeps looking into the case, as well as some possibly related issues, and he strongly feels that there’s something rather shady about the fishy Whinsper brothers. Is Grant being framed up by them? What role did Grant’s shrink, Dr. Katychmar, play in this strange case? Is Diane’s reappearance just a coincidence?
“Bolt Hole” is raw, very graphic and very scary. At times it reads as a catalogue of nightmares. Rape. Abduction. Sexual violence of just about any kind. Prostitution. Mutilation. Murder. Sick minds. Ill bodies. Whatever your nightmares consist of, you could most probably find it there.
Mr. Gontarek’s writing is powerful and fresh, with a distinctive style and some rather unique observations. Seeing the world through his eyes, or rather the eyes of his characters, is a downright chilling experience. He takes us on an unpredictable and ferocious ride. His characters are well fleshed out, with enough telling detail to make them believable and therefore – in most instances – even more terrifying. The story moves fast and keeps one’s attention throughout. The twists, the turns and the detours do not disappoint.
Something that does make the reading considerably more difficult is the extremely faulty punctuation, as well as the overall lack of editing and proofreading. I do sincerely hope Mr. Gontarek will consider correcting those issues in his future books, since they seriously impede one’s enjoyment of an otherwise gripping book. While this is certainly not a book for the squeamish, faint-hearted or overly prudish readers, I found “Bolt Hole” by Adam Gontarek engaging, fresh and promising.